Um hey there, remember me? Yeah I'm that irresponsible author who left her poor story out in the cold like a puppy on Christmas. Speaking of which I hope you are all having a good one, and well consider this my present to you. If that's not enough I think I'll answer some reviews because well it seems like fun.
Shoukea- Aww thanks, I like it when people really get into my story.
Caity- Sorry no A/A in this chapter but I think the next one will have some.
Roquechere- I LOVE long review like yours, they make my day, as for the A/A it's not much.
DivineGuardian- A cookie?! Goodie do I still get one even for the lastness?
Jennieman- You are my favourite reviewer, no offence to my other ones, sorry guys. I'm always so happy when I see you review, they make me grin like a idiot all day.
SpiritGirl of japan- thanks hun
Wendy- you're review made me smile like you wouldn't believe
Bobette- I love getting new fans like you
Unknown-OMG thank you so much! I can't believe you think it's that good!
Runty Grunty- Ahh my best fan, thanks for sending me e-mails asking me to hurry (politely of course) I doubt I'd've gotten off my butt without you.
xxbellaxx- cute name, yes the plot is getting good isn't it?
Anjirika- Yes I do love cliff-hangers
Alexis drake- It's all about JxT with me!
Nina542- I'm so glad you like it, I'm always gald to hear people actually get into the story and can see everything in their mind. It's what I aiming for anyway.
Jay Mcleod- Another new fan, yay!
LnzEE- Lol, omg thanks, really the best? XD
Sorry if you're name's no there, this was just for those who reviewed chapter 6, guess you'll just have to review this time, XD ;)
High a top his throne carved out from a jutting stone spire Cronus watched with mild interest as steam and red light cascaded out from a small pit in the middle of the room. Around the edge nervous giants stood looking down into the hole, their faces illuminated with eerie red light. The shadow stone lay at the heart of the pit, burning red hot with unimaginable power.
As the stone slowly began to turn white a nearby giant approached. In his hand he held a long stone staff, at the end it dipped slightly into a cup shape. As he lowered it into the pit he turned it in his hands, causing the water held in the cup to spill and fall toward the rock. As it hit, the water hissed and threw thick columns of steam back toward the surface. Other giants nearby passed buckets down a long line of other giants to refill the stone cups as they emptied. The water itself was more a thick, murky, liquid gathered from deep crevasses found in the darkest places of the underworld, it was sticky and to most creatures poisonous, but for Cronus' purposes it was just fine.
The rock turned red again as Cronus' wavering smile began to fade even more. This was all beginning to bore him. Suddenly he noticed a small brownish giant carelessly peering over the edge. Cronus held his breath as his eyes widened. He tired to contain his excitement as small rocks beneath the giant's feet began to crumble.
"That's it," he whispered. "A little further now."
The giant suddenly wobbled shakily, he looked down quickly and squeaked. Clumsily he began to fall. Cronus drew a breath. The giant cried out, flailing his arms out wildly trying to grab on to something. Cronus got to his feet, his eyes transfixed on the helpless creature.
But then suddenly another giant grabbed onto the arm of his friend, and hauled him back. Both fell to the ground before desperately clawing their way back to the others.
Cronus glared down at them, his hands clenched into fists. In blind fury he heaved his hands over his head and sent both giants tumbling magically in the air. He sent them flying back toward the pit, letting them dangle while he slowly began to regain control. The giants grunted and squealed in fear as they swung their arms and legs wildly about.
"Had to be the hero didn't you?" He taunted to the savoir giant. "Don't you know I just despise heroes?"
From the walls of the cave the other giants looked on helplessly. Some seemed upset while others just shut their eyes and turned away.
"But you'll never make that mistake again will you?"
The giant looked up, his eyes wide and terrified. When he didn't respond Cronus used his spell to shake him wildly.
"Will you?!" He bellowed.
The giant shook his head frantically and whimpered. He clutched his hands together in an attempt to beg. The giant beside him let out a miserable howl of despair, grimy grey tears rolling down his cheeks.
"Yes well, now you will never have the chance." And with the smallest flick of his finger, both giants fell screaming into the pit. The cries of agony lasted only a second, but the echoes rang through the air, surrounding the other giants who hung their head for their unfortunate brothers.
Cronus took a moment to grin and close his eyes, breathing in the scent of fresh decay. He opened his eyes and looked down at the miserable looking giants. "Why are you still standing about? Make sure those fat idiots didn't crush my stone."
Slowly the giants started their work again, scooping bucketfuls of the toxic water and passing it to the next giant in line. Each creature looked miserable, streaked with dirt, sweat, and several burns, Cronus felt strange joy from this and conjured himself a drink.
"You certainly keep them on their toes." A hoarse voice floated past his ear.
Cronus turned sharply glaring into the darkness behind him.
"Who's there?" he demanded, but there was only still silence.
He smirked. "Very well, I guess I'll just have to smoke you out."
He squeezed his right hand tightly into a fist. Slowly he opened it and a small ball of flame began to form on his open palm. In the pale flickering light Cronus could just make out something slide out from the shadows and rest on the arm of his chair. He stared at it for a moment before finally realizing what he was looking at. It was a hand, pale greyish green and lined with reptilian scales. The nails were black and thick, sharpened to a deadly point, they curled over the fingers like talons.
Slowly the hand moved, the claws scraping down against the hard stone leaving thin gashes in its wake. As it slid further down the arm of the throne, it was followed by a thin bony arm, dressed in a dark sleeve. Slowly a figure stepped out from the dark. As it walked closer Cronus could just make out that it was a woman. She had a frail, bony body, hunched over so her head hung pitifully. She wore a long grey cloak that seemed to swallow her small frame. A hood hid her face from sight.
Cronus sneered at the tiny creature and let the flame in his hand extinguish, as the woman came to stand in the full light of the cave. The flickering light of the few torches that lined the cavern walls sent eerie unnatural shadows of the woman everywhere. They towered over Cronus menacingly, like ghosts of some wild monster they moved and danced. He looked at the woman and frowned, she couldn't be smaller than a child, but something about her seemed ancient. In fact as she walked toward him she swept open the folds of her cloak and produced a gnarled old cane that she leaned heavily against.
"Before I throw you down that pit to join my more unfortunate workers I am rather curious to know just how you found your way past the magical fields that protect my home."
From beneath the shadow that covered her face Cronus could see a flash of silver teeth as she raised a single scaled finger.
"Now, now, I'm of the belief that one should keep some mystery to one's self."
Cronus opened his mouth the snapped it close again not sure what to say. As he struggled for words the woman grinned again and walked past him to peer over the edge down at the scene below.
"You may want to make sure some of them don't die, it seems as of you need them after all." She rasped. She turned her head slightly and looked at him over her shoulder, at least he was fairly sure she was, it was frustratingly hard to tell with her hood covering her head. "It's true then." She whispered, "The whole underworld is simply abuzz with talk that some poor fool had awakened the shadow stone. Of course," she paused and turned back toward the glowing pit, "I never would have thought it would be you."
Cronus crossed his arms at the old hag who had the insolence to scold him.
"I hardly believe it is any of your concern what I choose to do." He snarled at her.
The woman gave a wheezing laugh and shook her head. "No of course not, I'm not here to talk you out of destroying yourself, by all means feel free, no my business here is for an other matter."
"Oh yes? And what might that be?"
The woman raised her clawed hands up to the hood that shielded her face. Slowly she drew it back and raised her head. Despite himself Cronus' mouth hung open.
Her scalp was bald except for a thin layer of moss coloured hair. Every part of her face was as snake-like as her hands. She had no lips only a thin, cracked line carved just above the sharp angle of her chin. Slowly she took a wheezing breath and Cronus saw two slits open and close, he could only assume they were nostrils.
But it was her eyes that caught him, it was those eyes that grabbed him and swallowed him whole. They were nothing but huge black orbs, sunken into her face. They stared at him cold and unwavering.
"You see why most people I encounter prefer I keep my hood up." She said flashing him another silver toothed smile.
"You think yourself a clever hag don't you?" He sneered.
She smirked, "A little 'pot calling the kettle black' don't you think?"
He folded his arms and scowled at her. "You said you had business here? I can't imagine what it would possibly be."
"Yes, yes, but first…" she pushed past Cronus and hobbled toward his throne. Sitting down heavily she let out a great sigh. "Ahhh, much better." She said looking up at him and grinning wildly. She leaned back surveying him with mild interest. "Now, to business."
Cronus eyed the woman as she reached into the folds of her cloak. Carefully she produced a small leather pouch and held it in her withered hand. Pulling the string that sealed whatever was inside she tipped the bag over her palm. Something grey oozed from the opening and spilled over opened hand. She smiled at it fondly as it shone with a sickly pale light and quivered at her scaly touch.
"What," Cronus asked "is that?"
She shot a cool grin toward him before lifting her hand. Cronus stared at the strange lump in her hand with a hard sneer on his face. Slowly it moved, growing and widening, making wet, slurping noises as it slapped against itself. As he watched it formed a long thin shaft; sharpened to a deadly point. Slowly it rose above her hand, shining brighter as she stroked it. She surveyed Cronus with almost curious eyes.
"Now Cronus, let's see if you're a fast as you are smug."
Without some much as a twitch on her part the spear shot forward like a bullet. Cronus had only a second to react and throw himself to the ground before it sped past his ear. He threw his head up and watched as the long, grey spire gathered speed. His gaze suddenly snapped back to the woman sitting in his chair.
"What the hell do you think you're doing!?" He bellowed at her.
But the woman only grinned and clapped her hands together like a child playing happily with its toys. Cronus turned back to the flying spear and felt his stomach plummet when it suddenly changed directing and once again began to tear toward him. He scrambled to his feet and turned back to the woman. He grabbed her shoulders roughly and pulled her off her seat until she was directly eyelevel to him.
"Call it off!" he snarled at her. "Whatever it is just call it off!"
The woman didn't even flinch. Cronus felt his rage boil over as his eyes turned a molten shade of red. He threw her down and turned to face the spike that drove toward him. In one quick move he threw his hands in the air and two golden scythes appeared in them.
As the spear suddenly drew dangerously close, Cronus viciously sliced through the air. The razor shard sharp blades tore the spike cleanly through the middle. He froze as the spire hovered before his face, sliced in two separate parts. It hung in the air for only a second before it fell and landed on the ground. Surprisingly it slashed, like water and lay in a greyish puddle at his feet.
His head whipped up to glare at the woman. His chest rose and fell heavily as he still clutched he two scythes in his hands.
The woman sighed as she reached down. Suddenly the puddle at his feet churned and rose, the blobby grey object slowly rose from the liquid remains at his feet. As it floated toward her she pouted. "That took less time than I thought."
Cronus just stared, as she turned the object over in her hands before sliding it back into her small pouch.
"Are you mad!?" He screamed at her.
He woman looked up and stared at him with those huge, blank pools of darkness. "Perhaps." She said simply.
"What was that-that thing?" he asked.
She smiled, once again flashing her silvery teeth. "Water."
"You heard me, nothing but swamp water." Then she threw her head back and laughed, a crazed, scratchy wheezing laugh that echoed along the walls of the cave.
He grimaced at the sound of it. "That's impossible, the only creatures able to bend water to their will like that are Nereids."
The woman's laughter stopped as she turned to look at him. "Yes, I know." She looked at him, "What exactly do you think I am?"
Cronus stared, this hideous, crazed hag a Nereid? That was impossible. "I can't really see the family resemblance." He sneered.
She rolled her eyes and waved a hand in the air. "Yes well, I may lack the certain…aesthetic qualities of my sisters, but I have more power than they could dream of." The she looked at him, as something cold and sinister slid in her eyes. "And I have the courage to use however I wish."
Cronus raised an eyebrow. "I suppose then you've come for some sort of revenge for your stone sister, well your wasting your time I wasn't the one who killed her."
She snorted loudly. "Hardly, that foolish brat got what was coming to her. However I was curious when our bound was broken."
When Cronus looked at her blankly she kept talking. "Nereids are all connected psychically, however when Arethusa was turned to stone our sisters shut their mind from her, except me of course, you'd be surprised how useful it is to hear other's thoughts."
In spite of himself Cronus found himself grinning. "Then why have you come?"
"You put me in rather of a disadvantage when my only link to the school of the gods was broken, however over the years my sister heard so many things, things I know would be very useful to you."
She smiled, "It's no secret you despise those young heroes and as it happens I know some things that could be very helpful in their demise, all I ask in return is power."
"Oh yes?" Cronus said through clenched teeth.
"My sister may have been too stupid to use this information to save her life, but now that hardly matters does it?"
"No I suppose not. But what, might I ask, sort of power do you think is enough for such valuable information."
The Nereid grinned. "You take the land, I'll take the water."
"I see." Cronus said slowly. "But now that is where you and I have a problem, you see I don't share."
In a flash the sea nymph was lifted off her chair as Cronus held her with an invisible vice around her neck. Her black eyes bulged from her head as she clawed at the magic slowly closing her throat.
"Did you really think I would give you any speck of my future power? Whatever you know matters nothing to me, what I have planned those kids won't see coming."
The Nereid struggled against her hold, kicking her frail legs, as her vision started to blur around the edges.
He sneered and let her fall in a crumpled heap to the ground. He crouched down as she tried to push herself back up. Leaning in close to her ear he whispered. "A pity your plan wasn't better thought out, but before I kill you why don't you see what you're sister died for."
He grabbed her arm and hauled her to her feet. She wavered as she stood uneasily. Before her head even began to clear her yanked her and led her back to a small doorway hidden by shadows.
He pushed her through it and she stumbled to the ground. Uncaring he stepped over her and walked into the room. It was the room where his green swirling pool lay nestled neatly between the rocks. He walked along the stone path, not bothering to see if she followed and stood starring into the murky depths.
"Show her to me." He commanded the water. Slowly it began to move, churning and slapping against itself, as waves swirled around and bubbles began to surface to the top. Soon colours and shapes washed their way to the top. As Cronus watched, Theresa start to float into view. Beside him the battered Nereid finally made her way to the edge and looked down.
The image of Theresa focused and the terrified sea nymph could see exactly what was happening. Trembling bolts of energy cracked loudly in the air around Theresa, as her hair whipped around her head. Her eyes were clouded and blank, as the power overtook her body. Towering infernos of back flame engulfed the sky as all light was destroyed.
The Nereid shook her head. "No, Cronus what have you done?"
Cronus laughed. "I'm going to rule the world."
"No, it's too much power, she'll destroy everything."
Then he turned and smiled at her, an icy cruel grin. "Not if it destroys her first."
The Nereid shook her head. Slowly she turned and watched as the light from the pool illuminate every feature of his crazed face.
"Or not if I stop you first."
Suddenly the Nereid threw her hands in the air and the water began to swirl and rise, slowly the image of Theresa began to disappear.
"What are you doing?!" Cronus bellowed.
But she didn't answer, instead she dove headfirst into the flurry of waves, letting the cold icy water wash around her, as she left Cronus alone in the shadows.
Not my best chapter but I really wanted it done by Christmas for all of you. I don't plan on making you wait that long again I'm so sorry. Here's hoping you forgive me and I haven't lost any readers.